Manatees in South Carolina - Telemetry
Late in the fall of 1994, a manatee was seen in the Chesapeake Bay. Manatees are a tropical species designed to dissipate heat from their body. For that reason, water temperatures of less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit can be lethal. Since Chessie was so far from Florida so late in the season, he was captured and transported south. After an evaluation period, he was released in Florida equipped with a satellite monitored transmitter. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) Sirenia Project asked the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) to issue a news release requesting sightings of Chessie as he once again moved north during the summer of 1995. On June 26, 1995, we finally received a sighting of Chessie with his transmitter in tow. He was seen moving north past the Cherry Grove fishing pier off of our north coast. Chessie took six days to travel through South Carolina and continued north to Rhode Island. Chessie still holds the travel record for manatees.
Additional Information on Chessie
Beginning in 1997, two manatees sporting satellite monitored transmitters arrived in our state. These were two of 10 manatees that were captured, instrumented and released in Georgia. This was a cooperative project between the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GADNR) and the USGS Sirenia Project. These manatees were captured at warm water discharge sites in Georgia and Fernandina Beach, Florida. The goal was to study the activities of manatees that are using man-made thermal discharge areas to extend their winter range northward and how they respond when these thermal discharges are closed.